Lafayette lands 6’5″ valedictorian candidate


Big guard Eric Stafford had the skills to garner an offer from La Salle, a program on the rise coming off of a Sweet 16 appearance.

He also had the grades to play for Ivy League schools, but didn’t feel he could afford to pay his own way in the Ancient Eight.

The ideal solution came along in the form of Lafayette, a Patriot League school that could offer him a high-caliber educational experience and a full ride.

So Stafford became a Leopard.

“La Salle’s not a bad school, but Lafayette is better academically,” Stafford told the South Jersey Times. “I thought it was a better fit for my basketball game, to be honest.”

On the other hand…

“I would have loved to have had an Ivy League education,” said Stafford. “It was doable with financial aid, but it would have put a burden on my parents afterward and me. I didn’t want to put my parents through that. They saved money for my education, but I had this opportunity. I’m glad I did this.”

Stafford’s stats are impressive on and off the court. He averaged 15.8 points, 6.5 boards and 4.5 assists per game at New Jersey’s Pitman High, and his high school coach says he’s in line to be class valedictorian in his final season as well.

Sounds like Lafayette offers the best of both worlds for Stafford. And it’s not like you can’t play some meaningful ball in the Patriot League. Lehigh and Bucknell are just a couple of programs who have made bigger schools pay in the NCAA tournament in recent seasons.